Collaboration Over Competition

Collaboration Over Competition
Photo by Kaleidico / Unsplash

I used to climb every week with a good friend of mine. When we had our training, we practiced with a competitive mindset. Especially me.

There was a notation system that defines the difficulty of each wall. So, it was easy to compare our skill levels. I didn't practice more than my friend and he was more experienced. So, he was always a few reach away from of me and he was able to climb walls that were more difficult.

Because of my competitive approach, it made most of my practice session really sad. When I saw him doing things I wasn't able to, I felt frustrated.

Every time I wanted to improve on something, I looked for data and inputs from experts. Climbing was no exception. So, I started to grab information from the internet. I studied tips about how to climb a wall properly. It gave me an advantage over my friend. So I decided to not share anything with him.

To be honest, nothing changed much. To turn my new knowledge into a real skill, it would have required a lot of practice. When he was looking at what I was doing and noticed I change things, my friend was surprised and didn't understand what I was trying to do. He asked me questions I can't answer and I felt even more frustrated because what I learned seemed useless.

But after two sessions of trying out my newfound knowledge, I decided to change my mindset to a collaborative one. I talked with my friend about what I read and watched. Then, when he climbed I gave him several advice on his posture and his moves. I wasn't able to apply the tips but it gave me the capability to better analyze what he was doing.

Then, it became even more interesting. When it was my turn to climb, my friend advised me too. Even better, he taught me a really nice move that he liked to use. That day, he reached a new level by climbing a wall on a higher difficulty and I felt sincerely happy for him.

We even did a longer training session than usual and we both performed better. I was still on second place but I improved my climbing skills further than before. Best of all, the practice was really enjoyable.

Since that experience, I have done my best to keep a collaborative mindset. At work, I keep note to share what I'm learning. I find that it helps my colleagues to understand what I'm doing and also build trust. It helps them to improve and in turn, they enjoy sharing their recent discoveries too. The whole team benefits from this process.

I would like to conclude with a simple piece of advice. Don't follow the easy path by working only for you, when it's about doing things with others, collaboration and sharing is the best way to go.